They Might Be Giants at 9:30

The 9:30 club is an institution for D.C. residents younger than, well, dead. Last night was my first time there, and I can really see why the place is so popular. It’s funky and small and a really great place to see a show. And if you’re gonna see a show there, They Might Be Giants is the band to see.

TMBG — as we hip young urbanites call them — got a reputation in the 90s for being almost inaccessibly quirky, thanks to songs like 1990’s inexpicable if catchy “Particle Man.” (“When he’s underwater does he get wet?/Or does the water get him instead?/Nobody knows./Particle Man.”)

But the band’s live show consists largely of more danceable, and especially more singable, fare like the almost shockingly good “Experimental Film” and “Boss of Me,” the title tune from the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.” When the band broke into the opening lines of that number (“Yes, no, maybe./I don’t know./Could you repeat the question?”) The crowd went nuts. Seriously. Nuts.

And this reporter, I’m not ashamed to admit, went nuts right along with them. There’s something deeply cathartic about screaming “You’re not the boss of me now, and you’re not so big!” at the top of your lungs along with a thousand of your closest friends.

2 Comments so far

  1. Jenn L (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 11:55 pm

    Funnily enough, TMBG was my first concert at the 930 club too – at the old 930, back in the early nineties. It’s great that they’re still going strong. Back then it was “Istanbul (not Constantinople)” that had the crowd screaming. It was an amazing and lively show that I still remember…

  2. Erin Myers (unregistered) on April 28th, 2006 @ 9:26 am

    That’s so funny – I was just about to say that very thing… Except that, I remember the first time I saw them at the old club, they were the only 2 people on stage with a reel-to-reel tape recorder backing them up – it was so packed that they let people sit on the edges of the stage during the show. Afterwards my sister and I hung out in the club (which you could do if you wanted to hang out with the band), and got to talk to John Flansburg for about an hour. I remember saying to him, “wow, your songs are so weird, but you seem so NORMAL!”

    I was 15, what do you want….?

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